Week 17: Everything Looks Perfect From Up Here

When I landed at SFO on Monday evening, flying back from Victoria, the sunset hit the bridge and the city just so everything looked exactly perfect out the window, as if the whole thing was simply a toy model of itself. In between the clear sky and the golden shadows, it looked like every picture you’ve ever seen of the landmarks, the hills popping up in miniature.

But all I could think was maybe that’s true of anything. From this height, if you get the lighting right, anything can look like a postcard.

Continue reading “Week 17: Everything Looks Perfect From Up Here”

Am I Losing My Shit?

My mom sent me this on Facebook. In this analogy, I am the owl.
My mom sent me this on Facebook. In this analogy, I am the owl.

Yeah, maybe.

On July 29, I move to LA. People keep asking me if I’m all packed up. My reaction to this is basically the same as my reaction to all those questions people kept asking before our wedding: Oh my god, aren’t you so stressed? Isn’t it so hard to pick out all the details? Did you hire a planner? That reaction, in case you were wondering, is that I want to be like ‘Hi, I’m Kelly. Have we met.’

What would I wear for the next two weeks if I had packed? And, how would I even find stuff for my Ironman? And, oh yeah, there is an Ironman first you know, after which I’m home for about 18 hours before flying to LA, so what exactly am I supposed to pack? The one suitcase I’m bringing with me? Because, anyway, I’m coming home after the first three week orientation and driving back down with more stuff — which won’t even be all my stuff, because OH YEAH, it’s only 10 months and Steve is staying up here, so. Hi, I’m Kelly, have we even met.

There has been a decent amount of stuff to do to get ready for USC, though. Stuff like filling out paperwork, and figuring out IMAP settings for my email account, and signing up for half my classes and wondering why the other half are full already and realizing that means I’ll have to hope my powers of persuasion are as good with professors as they are with security guards.

Mostly, though, I’ve been worrying more about the Ironman first. There are a lot of things to worry about. Why is the internal hydration system impossible to get inside my Shiv (*my fancy bike, mom)? If I decide not to use it because I hate drinking out of straws, even if I can get it installed eventually, then where will I put extra water bottles? If I put the extra bottle on the frame, so I can access it better than on the back of the seat, then that’ll take the place of the aero-fuel-box that’s on the frame, so where will I store food? If I put food in between the bars, because a regular bento box won’t fit, then where will I put my computer? It’s like a more annoying and less cute version of ‘if you give a mouse a cookie.’

I also tried to work double last month, so when I get paid for that work in August (when I won’t be working), I’ll have money to buy stuff like food. This plan may not be working out great, though, because last week I worked three tiring days straight at the county fair, then was in the mountains for three days, then my sister visited for three days, and then I had to take a nap before we go to a wedding for three days. Today, I finally finished one story that was super overdue. Tomorrow, I have to finish the other. (Sorry, Mario, I promise, it’s coming.) This is exhausting.

Which brings us to what I’m mostly freaking out about. I do not feel ready for an Ironman. I feel exhausted. Of course, I’m used to feeling shitty right before a race, but not two weeks before, more like 1 to 4 days before. I haven’t even really started tapering. I just recovered last week from my big training block, then messed myself up at elevation running with Steve. And, now, I can barely run and swam terrible yesterday and my legs hurt and I think I need another nap. My current plan to solve this problem and the problem of having a stomachache for two weeks is to eat lots of red meat. And more vegetables. And less beer. And definitely less wine. Like Paleo, but still with some beer and chocolate-covered Oreos.

So, no, I haven’t packed yet.

Some Sunday Night Time-Wasting

Here are some random thoughts as I waste some time when I should obviously be working.

1. You know what you really shouldn’t do? A race, a birthday party and then try to wrap up a story that is definitely like two days overdue — but, I mean, not really as long as you can finish it by the end of the weekend, right?

2. If you’re the race director for a race, then refreshing to see if the race results are up yet when you haven’t put them up yet is really not going to be effective.

3. I have a lot of coaching opinions for Olympic athletes. Pretty much brilliant insight. We’re calling it Kelly’s Coaching Comments. Examples include: ‘If  he has broken ribs then he probably should try to qualify straight through to the final to avoid additional runs.’ And, also: ‘With that fumble on the rails she’s really going to have to go bigger on the jumps.’ (Also, I am 95% sure I should be hired for Olympic commentary.)

4. Team ice skating. WTF, IOC, WTF. At the very least, you should have either pulled the scores from existing individual events — with more qualifying skaters obvs — or just put all of the skaters from one country’s team on the ice at the same time. I would definitely actually watch/care if the male, female and pairs had to all skate at the same time. Who wouldn’t watch that?

5. I was soaking wet for six hours straight today. I mean actually soaking wet, straight through, gave up on even trying for dry-ness. You know what happens after six hours? You forget what it’s like to have ever been dry.

6. I am trying to brainstorm what would be similar to grilled cheese, except we don’t have any cheese for me to make grilled cheese. So far I have come up with possibly Bagel Bites or cereal. Neither of which sounds anything like grilled cheese.

7. I super love this story I wrote about what happens to Olympic torches and also this story about NCAA triathlon (which is a more fleshed-out version of what I wrote before about NCAA and triathlon). Those were my pride points for last week. Well, and the thing about one of the nuttiest people I’ve ever interviewed. But, you know, public blog, etc.

Things That Have Basically Almost Made Me Cry in the Last Two Weeks

Steve says I’m surprisingly a crier about things, to which I think I said, “Fuck you.” But, the last few weeks he may have been right. I’ve been pretty beaten up and this has led to odd bouts of wanting to break things and/or cry. And, the unmotivation combined with the training combined with the everything really has been making me want to just lay on the couch all day and watch Law and Order: SVU — though also I do that basically every Sunday.

SO, in no particular order here are things that have almost brought me to tears lately:

  • Running slow
  • Running hard (though not particularly fast)
  • The fifth draft of a 3,000-word story
  • The seventh draft
  • Lack of sleep
  • Trying to get an actual for-real quote on fixing or selling the car
  • People being mean to me on the internet
  • People being douchey in real life
  • Commercials for the Olympics
  • The follow-up questions/final draft to that 3,000-word story
  • Seriously, this story is killing me
  • My back hurting
  • My legs hurting
  • My desire for the condo to not be filled with shit combined with my desire not to have to spend time doing crap like cleaning
  • My inability to clearly understand the financial aid process
  • Things on the TV

Things I Suprisingly Did Not Cry During:

  • Crashing the car
  • Crashing my bike

**IMPORTANT CAVEAT: Let’s not all start acting like I’m super depressed now and asking me questions in real life about how am I doing with being depressed and calling my mom (or, for my mom, calling me) to talk about how we’re worried about me. Because, seriously, don’t be a moron. Or, you may get added to the list.

The Different Kinds of Tired

Coach Mario, when he was my coach, used to laugh at the descriptions I gave for different kinds of tired. There was normal tired, my face hurts tired, my legs are so heavy it feels like I’m dragging weights along tired. But, this week, I’ve hit a new kind of tired. It’s a I tried to pick up a barbell and nothing happened tired. I just stared at my arms and couldn’t figure out why the bar wasn’t going up.

It’s not like I’ve never been tired before. There was that time I decided to try sleeping 45 minutes every three hours. There was the year in high school I slept four to five hours every night. There have been some intense periods of training where I just couldn’t move. But, this is the worst tired I’ve been in a while.

I’m a nine hours of sleep person. Usually, I need it. Since Saturday, or maybe Friday, I’m not sure, I’ve been getting five to six hours a night. Last night it was probably less than five.

There are a couple things here.

1. I have lots and lots of work due by Friday/Monday/Tuesday — including a very cool story for Beacon about races and money that you should get excited about.

2. I’m also working at KQED full-time the second half of this week. I’ve been working the early shift, which means getting up at 5:45-6:15 every morning. The BART strike has added a layer of stress to this, not knowing until midnight each night whether they’ll be striking. Ugh.

3. Taking care of a dying cat is not super restful. Biggie is still hanging in there and we decided as long as he seems happy we’ll let him have more days. But, it’s not going to be many more. He’s staying at Steve’s parents, since we don’t want Tupac to get sick too. But, someone needs to stay with him at least most of the time or check on him. That means we’ve been going back and forth. I’m not even sure what I’m going to do this weekend when Steve’s out of town at CAFM.

4. I’ve still been training, which maybe isn’t a great idea.

(5. Also, I haven’t eating great. I did have a steak salad today, but otherwise it’s been strictly Kit Kat Bites and Bud Light Platinum for meals. *hint: Looking for a sponsorship here*)

Tuesday afternoon I ran 800s with the high school kids. Partially, I needed to maximize my time: if I’m going to be at practice might as well run at practice. Partially, I had on the schedule 800s or mile repeats. But, 12 x 800 was hard. Really hard. We did them as a cross-country half-mile loop around the park. We also did two of them tempo — like 3:15-20 — but the rest were 2:52-3:06, with the last two at 2:59. I’m pretty sure, per the Yasso 800s, this means I can run a 2:59-3:04 marathon. Right?

Except, if I can just get a little sleep first…

Training Week: July 15-21

I always, in a weird gawking/judge-y way, love reading other people’s training logs, or at least skimming them and making snide comments under my breath. So, go ahead, judge. This is my training load last week — in which I finally cracked 10 hours for like the first time since February maybe?


Bike to ferry, to work from ferry — and back (which totals 20 miles, but is a mixed bag of useful and pointless biking), biked to Crossfit on way home — 22 miles total give or take

Crossfit – rowing + front squats + stuff


GOD, I’m tired. Call it.


Swim in the morning at this Masters at the community pool right next to my house, figuring it’ll be convenient. It is also stupid. We do 1800y in 55′. I’m pretty sure I water run faster than that.

Run 7 miles in the evening with 4 x 5′ at (7:05, 6:55, 6:45, 6:35 – except the last one I only managed 4′ and like, well, that was rough)


Bike to ferry, bike ALL the way home from work — successfully this time too — totals around 34 miles give or take

Light core while watching TV and playing with Tupac, which really means he sat under me and tried to bite my face every time I came down for a push-up. It made the whole strength workout more exciting.


Run 5 miles easy in the morning — because I worked the later shift. Yay!

Bail on swimming in the evening — because I worked the later shift and didn’t get home until after 8 p.m. Sigh.


Swim 2400y, including a test swim of 1000y that I do periodically. Did it the slowest I have ever done it. Was so tired following that I watched TV and took a nap. Also, sigh.


Biked to the race, biked around the course, bike led the five-mile race, biked home — 17 miles or something?

Ran 3.5 miles of warm-up + 1 mile not quite as fast as I had hoped

Swam 1,000y easy in the afternoon.

Bam, I’m back. (Sort of. Kind of. I’m still slow and suck.)


Yesterday, I was planning on catching the 5:00 pm ferry, which gets in to Marin at 5:35. But, around 3:30 there was a shooting/lockdown incident in San Francisco. That meant we got really busy at work all of a sudden (with my least favorite kind of news coverage) AND after I finally understood where it was I realized the lockdown was right in my bike route to the ferry. No problem, I knew I wasn’t going to make the 5:00 ferry. But, then, in classic fashion, I tried to do a bunch more work and almost missed the 5:20 pm ferry. I rushed out and pounded it on the bike to get there in time. I was hauling ass, in skinny jeans, and then I took a wrong turn while trying to avoid the lockdown area and had to backtrack. I pounded and pounded, did the 18-20′ ride in 12′ even with the detour. And then, in classic fashion, I get there at 5:21 and the ferry didn’t leave until 5:42. Apparently, the boat had pulled up and hit the pier, knocking off some life preservers or something, so they had to replace it. And, then, the boat they replaced it with was one of the old slower ferries that takes 50′ instead of 30′. Classic. By then, I figured it was time to throw in the towel on my biking plans (I intended to ride long after getting in) and just call my 12 minutes full out ‘speed work.’

The Day I Failed at Biking 29 Miles

Yesterday, I rode my bike to the ferry in the morning and then planned to ride all the way home from KQED in the evening. It should have been just under 29 miles. I should have no problem riding 29 miles.

I had some problems.

This is what it should have looked like. The red arrow is where I stopped, gave up, got a beer, and made Steve come and pick me up:

That's still like 75% or something. Totally a passing grade.
That’s still like 75% or something. Totally a passing grade.

I’m not exactly sure why I failed. I started out riding through SOMA, by AT&T Park. I only got sort of lost and ended up in a sketchy dead-end under the freeway once. It was a nice day and I thought, ‘Hey, this is sort of pleasant.’

Then, I hit Pier 39, which the tourists flock to for the seals (or sea lions, always unclear to me) and for the people who hide in bushes to scare them. It is, apparently, European tourist season right now. Sometimes, it is Asian tourist season. It seems to have something to do with country holidays and seasons and schedules and economics. European tourists are really into tourist-y biking. They also have a different attitude about biking. That attitude appears to involve hanging your helmet over your handlebars, riding four abreast, and taking pictures while you weave in and out of traffic.

Then, I rode over the Fort Mason hill into the Marina and came to a dead stop. The wind has been bad this week and that area is always windy, but I don’t know enough about the city to have remembered this. It took almost as long to bike across Marina Green and Chrissy Field as it usually takes to run it during Escape from Alcatraz.

By the time I finally got to the bridge, which was still stupid windy, I was realizing this was going to take significantly longer than I thought it was going to. But, hey, the bridge, the sun, the birds chirping in trees, etc.

Just like this.
Just like this.

I thought the other side of the bridge would be better. It wasn’t. It was wall-to-wall, stopped traffic. I wasn’t sure if it was always this bad, so I asked someone and they said, no, this was weird. Coming down into Sausalito, there is no shoulder and it’s all tour buses — one of which tried to pass me and then make a right turn before having completed the pass, nearly taking me out. By the time I got through Sausalito, I was ready to be home.

My emotional and physical collapse came pretty quickly. At the start of the Sausalito-Mill Valley bike path, I felt ok, but hungry. By the end of the bike path, I was starving and wanted to lay down.

In classic bonk fashion, I was day-dreaming about all the things I was going to eat when I got home, but then I realized we didn’t have hummus or chocolate-chip cookie making materials or fries. I also realized I had no food on me, since I’d eaten it all at the office. Super awesome plan: stop at Safeway.

I may have even taken a wrong turn on my way to Safeway — even though I’ve ridden this route probably hundreds of times. I was tired.

At Safeway, you probably think I got a bar or something. No. I ate a Kit-Kat and a donut. Then, I gathered up: two things of hummus, two avocados, a bag of chocolate-chips, vanilla extract, brown sugar, and regular sugar. Just as I was cramming all that in my backpack and starting to wonder if this was not my best idea ever, Steve called and said he’d be getting in about 25′ later if I wanted picked up.

No, I said, I’ll keep going. I can bike 29 miles.

Then, I made it a wobbly 10′ farther to the ferry, realized I still had at least 30′ to go, almost crashed into a couple trying to cross the bridge over the freeway, and gave up. I sat down at Brew Co, ordered a beer, and waited for Steve to get me.

Apparently, I can’t bike 29 miles. I’m not sure why. It’s just one of those days.